West Bengal panchayat elections 2018: Opposition parties meet Election Commission, express grievances on single-phase poll

The Opposition parties in West Bengal on Saturday met the State Election Commission to express their grievances over the upcoming single-phase panchayat polls and the security arrangements for the same. Apart from the opposition Congress, BJP and Left parties, the ruling TMC also met the poll body and discussed the security and election arrangements for the upcoming poll, sources said.

West Bengal panchayat elections 2018: Opposition parties meet Election Commission, express grievances on single-phase poll

Kolkata: The Opposition parties in West Bengal on Saturday met the State Election Commission to express their grievances over the upcoming single-phase panchayat polls and the security arrangements for the same. Apart from the opposition Congress, BJP and Left parties, the ruling TMC also met the poll body and discussed the security and election arrangements for the upcoming poll, sources said.

State Election Commissioner AK Singh will meet the state government officials on Monday. "The opposition parties expressed their grievances over the single-phase election and security arrangements. I cannot comment on it now. I can only say something after holding a meeting with state government officials, DG and home secretary on Monday. Let us see what happens," he said. The SEC officials met representatives of 10 political parties of the state separately.

"We told the SEC that we are not happy with the security arrangements for the elections. The state does not have adequate forces to hold the elections in one day. The result of today's meeting is zero," senior BJP leader Pratap Banerjee told reporters after the meeting.

"We had demanded that the elections be held in three phases when a meeting was held in this regard on April 21. We told the SEC that one phase election will only lead to violence," CPI(M) senior leader Rabin Deb said.

The Congress delegation blamed the SEC and the state government for its alleged failure to provide adequate security during the filing of nominations. BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha today said the party has decided to move court over SEC announcing single phase election.

"The nominations were taken by saying three phase polls. Now, they are saying one phase elections. There is no proper security arrangements. We will move court," Sinha said. The TMC delegation, led by party general secretary Subrata Bakshi and TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee, did not speak to the media after the meeting.

The West Bengal panchayat election is scheduled to be held in a single phase on May 14. The West Bengal government has written to Odisha, Punjab, Telengana and Andhra Pradesh seeking forces for the panchayat election, a senior government official said today.

Four companies of security personnel were sought from each state for a full back up to the existing force in the state, the official said. Stressing that the government was doing everything for adequate arrangements for the election, Director General of Police Surajit Kar Purkayastha had yesterday said that it had sought security forces from four to five states to manage the panchayat elections, wherein 58,467 polling booths have been set up across the state.